Virgin Blue, Australia’s Skywest Sign 10-year Pact

 - January 29, 2011, 8:15 AM

Western Australia’s Skywest Airlines last month signed a 10-year strategic alliance with Virgin Blue to fly as many as 18 new turboprops to several new destinations around Australia. The agreement will see Virgin Blue and Skywest establish a code-share relationship on a number of sectors of each other’s domestic networks and allows Virgin Blue and Skywest customers to earn and redeem reward points on each other’s networks.

Although the airlines haven’t yet identified what type of aircraft they plan to deploy, Virgin Blue CEO John Borghetti said he expects the first to arrive by the middle of this year and three more by year-end. Skywest plans to lease the airplanes from specialist leasing company Aviation PLC for an initial term of 10 years. The Perth-based regional airline now operates Fokker 100s and Fokker 50s.